Update: Please see our correction, “CORRECTION AND APOLOGY: David Pogue Did NOT Say NYT Ethics Don’t Apply To Him.”
Earlier: New York Times (NYT) tech columnist David Pogue told an interviewer yesterday “I am not a reporter,” and that means he should not be held to same ethical standards as one.
Pogue writes how-to books about gadgets he also reviews in the paper.
Critics, including the New York Times public editor, argue that this is a conflict of interest.
The suspicion is that David might write a glowing review of a gadget in hopes that more people will buy it and subsequently need to buy his books to figure out how to use it.
Many felt they saw this conflict of interest in action when David lobbed softball questions at Apple CEO Steve Jobs during an interview last week.
Responding to the criticism during an interview with Leo Laporte, David said he shouldn’t be held to ethical standards expected of a journalist because he is not a journalist.
NYTPicker transcribed the interview:
“Since when have I ever billed myself as a journalist? Since when have I ever billed myself as a journalist?….I am not a reporter. I’ve never been to journalism school. I don’t know what it means to bury the lede. OK I do know what it means. I am not a reporter. I’ve been an opinion columnist my entire career…..I try to entertain and inform.”
He also said that he’s long lobbied to include disclosures about his books at the end of his columns, but that his NYT editors said no.
“I’ve frequently said why don’t we disclose the book in the column and for nine years that’s been shot down because it’s like, ‘Dude, you can’t advertise yourself!’ It’s like putting a plug in the column.”
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